Present at UTS 2 on Saturday, Feliciano Lopez, director of the tournament in Madrid (September 13 – 20) that the Spanish authorities would like to cancel due to the health situation, conceded that the tournament was almost impossible to hold. “What is the latest information you can give us regarding the Mutua Madrid Open?
You saw the press release today. We are there for the moment. We were confident two months ago that the tournament would take place. The situation has worsened in the last two or three weeks in the Madrid region, not just in the city of Madrid, but in the whole region. We have had an increase in cases, the numbers have continued to increase. We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September. Considering the situation we are facing today, we will make a final decision in the next two or three days. You are not very optimistic. It seems there is very little chance of the tournament happening, right?
We are not very optimistic now. We were very positive a few weeks ago. We have a very good protocol, everything is ready, we worked hard to make the event take place, because it is also very important to offer tournaments to the players today. We haven’t played since March (on the professional circuit). Dubai and Acapulco were the last contested tournaments. It’s very long. We need to play, we must play! But only when the conditions for safe play are met. Today, we must understand that the situation has worsened and we must take that into account, we cannot avoid the situation we are currently facing. Last week, we had meetings with the government. His recommendation is to cancel all events now during the summer. Of course, the decision is ours, it will be Ion’s (Tiriac, tournament owner). We have to work with everyone, the government, the ATP, the WTA and make the best decision for everyone. But we must also listen to the recommendations of the authorities, see how the situation is developing this week. We’re going to meet with Ion in Madrid. But if one were to cancel the event, there would be a lot of sadness for everyone. Feliciano Lopez “What will happen next year, when we still don’t have a vaccine? The situation will be exactly the same as now … ” Faced with such a situation, how do you see the rest of the season in general?
Honestly, we have to move forward day by day. It is an extremely difficult situation, there are so many uncertainties all over the world. For example, three weeks ago, in Madrid, we were very positive about the tournament. The number of cases was decreasing every day, everything seemed under control. Europe looked OK at the time. But in the last two weeks, the situation is totally different. The UK has reinstated a quarantine for people arriving from Spain and the situation in Spain has worsened as well, not across the country, but in Madrid yes. Even though we are very vigilant and would like the event to take place, we must accept that the first priority is people’s health. As for the future, I don’t know, I hope the US Open will take place. We have to move forward day after day, each country is different. What is happening around the world is terrible with the Covid-19. And tennis, by virtue of its characteristics of individual and global sport, has paid a heavy price for nearly five months …
Tennis is probably suffering too much from this situation. It’s a global sport, with players from all over the world and it’s very difficult to get this sport going again. And it’s not just this year. This season is already completely lost. But what will happen next year, when we still don’t have a vaccine? The situation will be exactly the same as now if we don’t have a vaccine! When is it going to end, I don’t know … “